Local rescuers were devastated to discover last week that the Pet Overpopulation Patrol, or POP-NC, was closing and would discontinue its mobile spay/neuter clinics in Nash County.
The clinic has been coming to Nashville since November 2010, setting up on the grounds of the Nash County Animal Shelter.
The mobile spay/neuter clinic sometimes came twice a month to Nashville and at each visit, handled up to 30 spay and neuters. Many of the animals were rescues from the shelter.
Meredith Barthelemy, Program Manager of POP-NC, said the closing is definitely not due to bad business.
“Business is great,” she said.
Instead, Barthelemy said the lead vet who travels constantly with the clinic is burnt out.
Barthelemy said there is one vet who typically goes to the nine locations in seven counties to perform the surgeries. One additional vet helped out once a month.
The lead vet also works part-time at an SPCA Clinic.
“It’s just been so much easier to be in that situation as opposed to a mobile situation,” Barthelemy said.
Barthelemy said the vet and vet techs would face 12 to 15 hour days on days they had clinics. Eventually, vet techs moved on.
“Everyone just kind of gets out,” she said.
Another reason behind the closing, Barthelemy said, was due to needed maintenance of the mobile clinic.
Carol Vierela, of Nash County Animal Friends, said she was upset about the closing.
“We were very disappointed obviously that she decided to go out of business as a mobile clinic,” Vierela said. “Zebulon is the plac we’ll have to go with our rescues. Not everybody will want to drive that far.”
Vierela said the timing of the announcement was especially bad because it is the season for babies.
“The timing is bad because it’s Spring and all the babies are coming,” she said.
“The impact on us is extreme, not only for us but Animal Crackers (as well),” Vierela added.
Barthelemy said she, too, was devastated to hear the news that the clinic was closing. When she heard the news, she said there were three counties in particular she was worried about. Nash was one of them.
But, Barthelemy hopes she can help recruit another clinic to come to the Nash County area.
“We working with two mobile clinics to take over our clinics in Nash County,” she said. “I really want to get something going in Nash County.”
Vierela said she hopes another clinic will step in but said it would be nice for a local veterinary clinic to at least step in and help rescues be able to spay and neuter rescue animals. When a rescue like Nash County Animal Friends rescues an animal from the shelter and finds another rescue to take it, the animal has to be spayed/neutered.
“We could get an agreement with one of the local vets to do a certain number of animals per month,” Vierela said.
Vierela said the numbers prove that the clinic made a difference in the area. During their time here, the POP Clinic spayed/neutered over 700 animals. During that time, Vierela said the figures declined.
“The figures for the last year declined in Nash County, so it works,” Vierela said.
Until another solution is worked out, those needing a low cost spay/neuter service for their animals are being referred to other clinics.
“For now we are reccommending and referring all of our clients to the Spay North Carolina help line because they have contacts in Zebulon, Wilson and Greenville,” Barthelemy said.
The number for Spay North Carolina is 1-888-623-4936.